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Sexting fear over new Facebook app

  • From: News Limited Network
  • December 21, 2012 12:00AM

A psychologist believes apps like that being introduced by Facebook put more pressure on young girls to take part in sexting. AFP PHOTO/MANJUNATH KIRANSource: AFP

FACEBOOK is planning to release an app to rival infamous sexting app Snapchat.

Snapchat allows you to take and encrypt a photo that can only be seen for up to 10 seconds before it disappears.

Facebook plans to release a rival app by the end of the year, allowing people to send images and 10 seconds of video to their friends who will be able to view the content for between one and 10 seconds.

The app will also contain chat and video messaging capabilities which will also only be viewable for a fixed period of time.

Sydney psychologist and teacher Collete Smart told News Ltd the app could make women and children vulnerable to exploitation and provide an easy way for criminals to share child porn.

Ms Smart said that over the past six months, she had counselled countless girls who had been pressured into sending nude photos to their boyfriends as a “sexy present”, and this app would only cause more harm.

“We have all sorts of issues with child porn and we’re supposed to be protecting kids from exploitation and apps like that in no way protect young kids,” she said. “They don’t have the capacity to know the dangers.”

Though Snapchat has never referred to itself as a sexting app, (if it did, it would not qualify to be sold in Apple’s app store), but it is widely used and referred to as such.

Facebook has likewise denied its app would be used for sexting, but experts say otherwise.

“Snapchat have always denied that sexting is what it’s about, and that’s not what they have in mind, and I think Facebook will deny it too,” Ms Smart said.

“I have no idea how they’ll talk their way out of it, but they’ll make some excuse.”

Facebook has not made any mentions of age restrictions for the app.

Facebook’s terms of service state that it does not allow “indecent” images or video to be shared on the site and it this year suspended users who had posted images of themselves breastfeeding from the site.

One of the biggest concerns is what happens to your images once they’re in cyberspace.

Though Snapchat only allows people to view images for up to 10 seconds, screenshots and image saving can be used to get around this.

If and when this happens, users are notified by Snapchat that someone has stored their photo, but beyond that people are powerless to get their photo removed.

It’s unclear at this point whether Facebook will have a similar notification process, or further protections against the storage of images that are only supposed to be viewed temporarily.

Facebook has not responded to News Ltd’s request for comment.

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